How we sympathise with the residents of Goldhanger Road, Heybridge (Standard Letters, October 17, "How can we make our road safer?").

In the Nineties, Essex County Council Highways changed the road hierarchy into the Dengie.

The previously unclassified Fambridge Road, Althorne, from just west of Riverview Park to Fords Corner, became part of the major Priority 1 Route B1010 to Burnham.

There was no improvement to the road infrastructure and the speed limit was 40mph. Parts of the road are too narrow for two trucks to pass and one has to pull off the road.

The hugely increased volume of traffic – about 5,000 vehicles in each direction east and west every day – on a road with bends and hidden dips and blind summits has made life highly dangerous for residents and visitors exiting onto the road with poor visibility.

There are now few pedestrians, despite a footpath from the western end of the village to Fords Corner.

The speed of passing lorries combined with overgrown verges and the chance of being hit by wing mirrors has made walking too dangerous for many.

Poor vision and the speed of the traffic has made crossing the road at Riverview Park very dangerous for the 140 elderly people who live there.

Althorne Community Together and Althorne Parish Council have been asking the Local Highways Panel for three years to reduce the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph, as has been done further along the B1010 in Maldon Road, Burnham.

During discussions, we were asked if we had taken part in a Speedwatch initiative – despite the fact that Essex Police in the past refused to hold speed checks on the Fambridge Road because there was no safe place to do so.

After three years of discussions and negotiations we were told earlier in the year that the speed would not be reduced.

This is in contravention of both Department for Transport and Essex County Council recommendations that 30mph should be the norm in all villages, and Fambridge Road qualifies as a village in its own right by both of their definitions.

So desperate is Essex County Council to avoid reducing the speed limit on Fambridge Road it has spent £13,500 on a village gateway (a small white fence on one side of the road which looks like an advertising hoarding) halfway through the village instead of at the village entrance near Riverview Park.

With increasing building in Burnham and beyond leading to increased traffic through Althorne, is there any hope of reducing the speed limit on Fambridge Road, Althorne?

Doug and Ursula Benjafield

Fambridge Road, Althorne